Certifying your Gap Year: The Student of Leadership and Humanity Award
Updated: May 25
If you have been following along our gapper series, then you have heard all of the epic journeys that these gappers have experienced and the lessons and skills they gained. Now, how do you show the world hours of stories, analogies, and experiences in a way that they can understand? How can you show a future employer, scholarship grantor, admissions officer, or post-grad officer the value of your gap year?
This is what the Student of Leadership and Humanity Award is all about! You are able to validate all of the growth and learning that you experience in your gap year. The CanGap Association issues this award, and stands behind you, proving and validating your developmental gap year.
The SOL&H Award has 2 functions, an external and internal function.
Externally, it is a 3rd party, The CanGap Association, who stand behind you to validate that you have spent your gap year purposefully, developed foundational skills that have allowed you to achieve your full potential, and that you have developed competencies beyond the high school curriculum. This includes those essential life and adulting skills that will launch you into your successful future. It is validating that you have become a stronger and better person because of this purposeful time you took to better yourself.
Internally, it is a tool for YOU to see how you are evolving throughout your gap year. In school, we have deadlines and “finish lines” in place, you are working towards that next test, the next project, or that next semester. Furthermore, our teachers are constantly tracking our growth and success. However, during a gap year, we sometimes do not recognize just how much we are growing because we are going through it so naturally! It may take someone on the outside to say, hey, you are really growing and developing skills that you will be able to use in the real world!!
It is these milestones to help you unpack the learning that is taking place when you experience something in your gap year, whether that is work, travel, volunteering, courses or learning a new skill intentionally. It is a way to connect these experiences that you have in your gap year to how you end up in the world after your gap year. It is an extremely powerful tool, externally, as it is validation and internally, as it is the ability to recognize all of the ways you have grown and changed as a person in your gap year.
The 6 Sub-Badges
These are different topics and ways that people grow as universal growth when taking a gap year. Let’s break it down!
Badge 1: Who Am I?
It is time to explore who you are!! In high school, we get pigeonholed into who we are, being in a routine with the same people every single day. Afterward, we get the opportunity to really connect with ourselves and figure out who we want to be, what our values are, and who we want to be as a person.
Badge 2: My Wellness
Learning to take care of yourself, so you can feel the best about yourself! The high school environment can be extremely stressful and stimulating, and oftentimes we get lost in all of the chaos. Not to mention, we are still living through this pandemic, which has impacted all aspects of our lives. The ability to be aware of what you need to holistically well, which includes physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Realizing when these elements are out of balance and how to regain that balance again.
Badge 3: My Future
A gap year is a pivotal time in your life, transitioning from one phase of your life to another, all while learning so much! Through this, we do get nervous about the future, what it will look like or the appropriate steps to get us there. This badge will help you explore those next steps and explore these future stages.
Badge 4: My Finances
We are going to dive deep into personal finance! It is crucial to have a healthy relationship and be comfortable with money as it is a fundamental life skill. How money comes and goes, how we should save, invest and spend it. Ensuring we have the skills to understand money and have a positive relationship will help us better manage our finances.
Badge 5: Mentorship
Everyone in our lives comes for a reason, and those who are the most successful are able to realize who their mentors are in life. Someone who can act as a guide and help you through different changes in life, or give you advice that you need to hear. This badge will take you through the process of identifying a mentor and asking the right questions.
Badge 6: Independent Project
Arguably one of the most interesting and exciting components of this award. This project is not like a school project that you work on for grades, this is a real life project that connects with one of the UN’s sustainable development goals. You get the opportunity to explore the world’s most pressing issues (do not worry, we are not asking you to alleviate global hunger) but what role do you want to play in addressing some of these issues with the gifts, talents and skills that you have to make a positive impact.
Each of these badges comes equipped with resources to help you explore these components in a fun way. Remember, this is not a big school project or an assignment, this is real-life learning, through which you will learn valuable skills to carry forward.
For each badge, you will have to do real-life learning, and then we are going to ask you to unpack what you learned from each experience. You will be able to pick your experiences based on your goals.
Badge 2: Wellness
Connecting with a counselor, exploring nature, growing a garden, picking up a sport, start working out
Badge 4: My Finances
Learning how to do your own taxes, take up investing, budgeting for your gap year of the first year of school.
Badge 6: Independent Project
This project can be any size. For some gappers, this may become the cornerstone of their gap year. For others, this project may last for a single afternoon, completely up to you and your goals!
Earning the SOL&H Award this badge!
Once you have completed each of the sub-badges, you will be eligible for the SOL&H Award! This is an international award to put on your resume and LinkedIn profile. It will provide credibility for your gap year, and the CanGap Association, who will issue this award will stand behind you and validate your developmental and worthwhile year!
Moreover, you will receive a digital badge. It is a digital credential that you can upload on your LinkedIn, it will have data embedded within that badge that people can click on to see what you got up to in your gap year and all of the competencies you developed throughout the process. It is secure, non-transferable (as in you own it), and a dynamic way to showcase your gap year.
Learn more about the Gap Year Gameplan HERE!